Recently, I found myself on Golf Road driving behind someone who was inching along. Traffic was light, but I was hemmed in by a van alongside me, signaling for a left turn. The driver ahead of me seemed unaware of the van and maintained his crawl-speed.
I slowed even more to find some space to maneuver but for a long moment there was none. The van began braking so I committed to being patient. Eventually, the van made its’ turn and the cars behind it zipped by ,while a block or two later the slow car with an elderly driver turned right and I accelerated on my way.
A quite ordinary scenario, but it left me remembering …
In earlier years in that situation my driving and my reactions would have been very different. I would have slapped the steering wheel and said, “Oh, come on, move it!” – or worse – and then tailgated the slowpoke, trying to get him to speed up. Didn’t he know I was on the move and going someplace? Then I’d unload and let fly a litany of expletives about stupid drivers.
None of that happened this time and I thought to wonder why. Three factors came to mind: I am older – and wiser, I am rarely in a rush these days and I recognized myself in the car ahead of me.
I have been driving for 50-plus years. I have been rear-ended and t -boned; had fender-benders, more tickets than I’d care to admit to, so I must have learned something along the way – something I’d call courtesy, which is recognizing the concerns and realities of others and responding sensitively to them. In this situation I did unto an others what I would like them to do unto me.
What took me so long to learn such a simple insight?
In retirement, I found time to teach myself how not to rush. On that morning I had left plenty early so I was certain I was not going to be late. Patience was easy enough to come by.
Finally, being older myself, I could imagine any number of reasons why that driver was moving at crawl speed: his dimming eyesight or fading hearing. Maybe he wasn’t in a rush either
It all worked out and I was left with a good feeling despite the fact that the lessons learned seemed oh-so- simple. Wisdom, though, is so much more than knowledge.
Why does it come to us so late?